This year I have two pieces of artwork in the 4th Carleton Community Art Exhibition (open from January 13th – January 22nd at the Carleton University Art Gallery).
This is my second time having my artwork in the CUAG, as I also had artwork in the 3rd Carleton Community Art Exhibition in 2015.
This year’s show had around 250 pieces of artwork by 150 artists from the Carleton community, including students, staff, faculty, and alumni. The opening on Friday was packed with people viewing the artwork.
For a university with no visual arts program, it was inspiring to see just how many talented artists contributed to the show. There was a range of media represented, from painting and drawing to textiles and sculpture. The art was labelled not just with the title and artist, but also noted how the person was connected to the Carleton community, and through which department (i.e. student, psychology). What most amazed me was that the pieces were not primarily by the people you would expect (for example: people in Art History, Industrial Design, and Architecture departments) but art was being contributed by people from departments like Physics and Engineering as well. It was actually interesting to see how much students, faculty, and alumni from the STEM disciplines contributed to the art show, and how talented they are, equaling people in the arts.
I think that often people believe that either someone is good in science and math, or they are talented in the arts, and that there is not much overlap. When I applied for a Master’s of Business Administration, I heard second-hand that many people thought I wouldn’t be able to succeed in Business because I came from a Fine Arts background. However, just because I was artistic, did not mean that I didn’t have math skills or analytical skills. In fact, there are many things from my art practice and training that I feel contributed to my success in a Business program, such as the development of critical thinking skills after years of trying to see things in a way that other people did not. I have also witnessed, after working in the Department of Neuroscience, that we have many students that are very strong in the sciences that are amazing visual artists as well. Just because someone is a scientist or strong in science, does not mean that they do not have thoughts and feelings that they need an outlet for. In fact, they may be exposed to even more mysteries of life that they would like to express.
I enjoyed seeing artwork from people in the STEM disciplines, because sometimes I could see how their field contributed to their artwork and their view of the world, and sometimes I couldn’t. Different people are inspired by different things. It could be what they study, or it could be their personal experiences at home, or how they see their relationships with others. Art is so beautiful for that reason, we all create different things because of our own perspectives.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the art made by artists that are known to us in galleries and in the community, that we forget that there are unknown artists making great pieces of work in their own homes every day. There are masterpieces hiding away, that someone made not for money or recognition, but to get a little piece of themselves out of their head and into the world. I’m grateful that the Carleton Community Art Show has reminded me of that, and I hope the CUAG will continue to hold these shows in the future.